This week, we've been paying editorial attention to drum corps events that happened in the Eastern U.S. And each week this winter, we'll be profiling a different Division II & III corps in a feature called "On the Field." By Malika Stepasiuk
East Coast Jazz snare
Have you ever had that feeling, right when rehearsal is over and you get home, that you wish more than anything you'd blink and be right back at practice? Well, that's the way our entire corps feels right now. This excitement started to build up from our audition camp, which yielded surprising numbers from all over New England and as far away as Virginia, Indiana, North Carolina and Japan.

East Coast Jazz, at a recent winter rehearsal
It was an interesting camp, because everybody was, in essence, a rookie. Each section had a new caption head from the year before: Jeff Buldoc took over arranging and heading the brass. Charlie Poole Jr. took over the battery arrangements and is heading the percussion section. Veteran Dana Atwood is arranging for the pit, and Maureen Kelly (with help from Andrew Hanenburg and Brandon Block) will head the guard. So what? So what if we have a big name staff? That doesn't mean anything unless we can pull together and produce the show they have created for us. Once the playing started, everyone knew that this year would be different. Instead of the usual show-and-tell to wrapup of the weekend, the corps ensembled a small segment of "Armando's Rhumba," our second selection in "The Heart of Jazz." Everything is a step or more up from last year -- the parts, the expectations, the dedication, and the enthusiasm. Nearly three months later, none of these have died down -- if anything, they have grown. With almost 20 marching percussionists, 12 front ensemble members and around 40 horns at the latest practices, it is hard not to get overconfident. The color guard will join the corps in April because the majority marches with high school or independent WGI lines. January saw us finished with three-quarters of the show, and the horns need less than 30 seconds to complete the finale, "Spanish Fantasy, Part IV." For the first time in the corps history, we will be performing at an indoor percussion show in March. Our goal is to be done musically by the end of the month, making it a real possibility to perform "The Heart of Jazz" in its entirety even before we move outdoors. With snow piled up outside and even more threatening to fall, the corps is in the process of ordering more instruments and uniforms. Our newly appointed support staff has done an amazing job of making sure things are running smoothly, and with 22 performances in 13 states this summer, they are a necessity and have been welcomed to the family with open arms. Everyone is anxious for spring to arrive and for the summer to quickly take over. Our competition schedule this year gives us many opportunities to perform in front of various crowd sizes at multidivision shows. I will leave you with an Albert Camus quote that summarizes the feelings of the 2004 East Coast Jazz family: "In the depths of winter, I finally learned there was within me an invincible summer."